Happy Holidays from June, Eric and Izzy
Posted Dec 20, 2020 by Carol Stagliano
2020 has been a YEAR for everyone and we hope that this finds you and your happy, healthy and safe. I sit here with June and we thought it would be nice to give you a little update on how the kids were doing.
All three kids are still living in the apartment in Cedar Grove with their father.
June - After a crazy High School Senior year. where many things had to be cancelled, she and her classmates were able to have an in-person graduation ceremony. In the Fall she started attending Montclair State University. As of right now she is studying History with hopes to soon join the Education Department. Her first semester went as smoothly as COVID would allow. She has made it to full adult status by leasing and being fully responsible for her first car! She has started hiking and has done some travel in order to add new trails to her adventures, including the Adirondacks.
Eric - Has started his Junior year a CGHS with a new outlook on life. He has been attending, in person when COVID restrictions have allowed. Measuring in a petite 6"3" he has his driver's license test and college applications in his near future. His new attitude on life has included a new diet and working out in the gym.
Izzy - Now in 8th grade and looking forward to high school next year. Izzy in true Izzy fashion is navigating the teen ages years and eight grade as only she could. COVID restrictions has limited her in-person social life but she is using all social media to her full advantage.
This year's Christmas, like most people's, will be low key. Plans of just hanging out, opening gifts, snacking and relaxing.
All the kids will be back in school, again as much as COVID will permit, in January.
June, Eric, Izzy, Jennifer and I wanted to take a minute to thank you for all that you have done for them and Alison. We wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season and may 2021 bring everyone peace and joy.
Cedar Grove UNICO pasta dinner to benefit Alison's kids!
Posted Jan 28, 2020 by Carol Stagliano
As you know Alison loved Cedar Grove and the community loved her and that continues with the kindness of everyone continuing to help the kids in so many different ways. As such we consider all of you part of our Cedar Grove family/community...no matter where you live.
Cedar Grove UNICO has announced that the Walton Children Education Fund will be co-recipients of their annual pasta dinner. This organization does many things for the community and we are proud and honored that they offered to help the kids.
Unfortunately, I can not attach the flyer but I have listed the information below. If you are local and wish to attend, please join us. This is always a great event!
Right now UNICO is looking for sponsors or donations for baskets. If you would like to sponsor a basket or know someone who would, please contact Steve DeStefano
Here is the information regarding the event
Cedar Grove UNICO Annual Pasta Night
Date: March 20, 2020
Location: St. Catherine of Siena School Cedar Grove
Time: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Price: Admission: $10 per person $5 per child 10 years and under
Menu to include: Pasta, Salad, Soda, Water, Coffee, Dessert
Entertainment: Eric DeLauro “Sinatra Sensation” of the Rack Pack Band Free Face
Proceeds to Benefit: Walton Children Education Fund in memory of Alison Walton
A portion of the proceeds will also benefit:
• St. Catherine of Siena School Annual Pasta Night Supporter
• Annual Scholarship Awards
• Annual Easter Egg Hunt
• Cedar Grove Fire Department
• Columbus Day Essay Contest
We hope you will be able to join us for this wonderful event!!!!
If you have any questions, regarding this event or anything else feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carol (email@example.com)
Thank you again for your continue support of June, Eric and Izzy!
Posted Dec 24, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
We just wanted to give everyone a BIG THANK YOU and wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
We were overwhelmed by the generosity for this children. Gift bags were made for each child and then a group gift bag. These were distributed by the schools.
We are going momentarily to drop off large gift bags for each child today so that they have something to open on Christmas morning.
The Board of Education has generously offered to pay many of the fees associated with Senior Year for June (i.e. cap & gown, yearbook, etc)
Also Unico generously donated tonight's meal for the kids. They will be spending tomorrow with their Grandparents.
Thank you all again. We will continue to leave this site open and provide updates.
On behalf of June, Eric, Izzy and Alison's mother and sisters, we THANK YOU and wish you a very Merry, Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday Season!!!!
~Carol and Jennifer
Walton Children Christmas
Posted Dec 7, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
We hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We apologize for the delay in getting this out but we have been trying our best to put together a list and a plan for June, Eric and Izzy for Christmas.
Here is what we came up with. We will make baskets (or boxes) for each child and one for the family. We are going to reach out to the schools or another organization so that the kids can be given their boxes in school in private. We are also going to drop a present off either Christmas eve or Christmas morning. We remember how important it was to Alison to make sure that the kids had a nice Christmas regardless whatever was going on and although it will never be the same or enough we hope that this will help.
If you would like to contribute to the baskets see the list below (NO PRESSURE) it can be done several ways. But we will need these BY DECEMBER 18th. You can purchase a gift card and send it or drop off gift cards to:
Jennifer Warkentin - 74 Winding Way, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 OR
Carol Stagliano – 129 Brunswick Avenue, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 OR
If you wish to make a donation on Meal Train, email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know how you would like the money spent and we will buy the gift cards.
Here is the list that we thought would be good for each child. Please know each box and present will say that it is from ALISON’S ELVES
• Prom bid certificate – approximately $90.00
• Balance of Project Graduation event – approximately $125.00
• Gas Gift cards (Mobile, Exxon, Getty and Sunoco gas stations are all close or in CG)
• Local restaurant gift card - June goes out to lunch during the school day
o Espositos, Panera, Shake Shack, 5 Guys, Giuseppe, Subway, Anthony Franco’s,
Lombardi’s, Dunkin' Donuts, Burger King
• Kohls Gift Card
• Visa Gift Card
• American Eagle Gift Card
• Game Stop Gift Card
• Kohls Gift Card
• Macy’s Gift Card
• Visa Gift Card
• Local Restaurant cards (see list above)
• Forever 21 gift Card
• American Eagle Gift Card
• Kohls Gift Card
• Macy’s Gift Card
• Visa Gift Card
• Local Restaurant Gift card (see list above)
• Target Gift cards
• Shop-Rite Gift Cards
• Foodtown Gift Cards
• Amazon Gift Cards
For the Christmas day present we were thinking of including in each box
• Wallet with some cash (between $20-50)
• A Yankee item (something that is more of a keepsake then something they will grow out of
i.e. hat, scarf or ornament)
• Maybe something else – still trying to figure out something that would be special for each child so if you have an idea email Jennifer or Carol
On behalf of the kids and Alison’s family, we would like to thank you for all of the support and love you have given.
We wish you a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season.
Carol and Jennifer
Carol contact email@example.com
Jennifer contact firstname.lastname@example.org or text 973-704-6319
Update on the Walton Family
Posted Nov 18, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
We just wanted to give an update regarding the Walton Family. We are please to announced that the rent for the family has been handled and the kids will be able to stay in Cedar Grove until at least July. So June will be graduating with her class. We are going to continue to keep the this site open if anyone wishes to make donations. We are working with June, Eric and Izzy their Christmas wish lists. Once we have this we will share.
On behalf of Alison's family and the kids, we would like to once again THANK YOU for your generosity of time and money for Alison, June, Eric and Isabelle.
~ Carol Stagliano and Jennifer Warkentin
Update on Walton Education Fund
Posted Oct 9, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
An Education Fund has been set up by Alison's sister Kim. Any donations should be made payable to
The Walton Children Education Fund
and mail to Kim Albetta at 1040 Grouse Way, Venice FL. 34285
If you have any questions, please email Jennifer Warkentin at email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support of June, Eric and Izzy.
Update on the Walton Family
Posted Oct 5, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
Many have asked for updates so we are going to keep the Meal Train open so that we can provide information as it is available. As we know you can imagine, the family is still trying to figure stuff out and plan. But here is some information.
Alison's sister Kim is setting up Education Funds for June, Eric and Izzy. If you want to send a donation to this fund you can mail a check to her. Here is her information:
1040 Grouse Way
Venice, FL 34285
Also we are keeping the Meal Train open for both updates and donations. If you wish to contribute via credit card to the Education funds, please use the donation link on the meal train. 100% of the monies collected will be given to the Education fund.
As of right now we are not sure what other things the kids may need but when we do we will let you know.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to either of us
Our thoughts and prayers are with June, Eric, Izzy and Alison's family as they navigate through this difficult time. On their behalf, we would like to thank you for your continued support.
Carol Stagliano (firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-768-8517) and Jennifer Warkentin (email@example.com or 973-704-6319)
Update on Alison
Posted Oct 1, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
We have received another update from Alison and her family. Right now Alison and the kids are in great need of monetary donations for the out of pocket medical costs.
If you are able to help, please make a donation through the link on Alison's Meal Train. 100% of this money goes to Alison and the kids.
Again, we thank for you for all you do and continue to do.
Carol (973-768-8517) and Jennifer (973-704-6319)
New Date for the Meal Train & Update
Posted Sep 29, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
Hello friends of Alison and the kids,
We just spoke with Alison and she asked us to add the additional dates to the meal train as well as give everyone an update.
Alison was just recently in the hospital due to complications but is now home. Although she is home, she need to focus on her health and family so we think taking meal prep off the table will aid her.
She is still battling the cancer and the complications. As such we may be reaching out for additional help.
Alison is available via text but please keep in mind she may not respond immediately but she is reading and appreciating all.
This has and IS a difficult battle which Alison continues to face with grace, positively and strength. She appreciates all the kind words and acts of kindness for her and her children.
We will keep you updated when we know more.
On behalf of Alison, June, Eric and Izzy thank you for all you have done and continue to do.
~Carol Stagliano (973-768-8517) and Jennifer Warkentin (973-704-6319)
Posted Sep 14, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
Friends of Alison,
On behalf of Alison and the kids, we wanted to thank you for all your kind and loving support. As some of you know, we were continuing to have issues with the monetary donations portion of the Meal Train. It has now been resolved...this time we mean it!
Although the system will may take up to 24 hours to update, at this time tomorrow no one should receive and error message.
Thank you for your patience. If you still receive and error message, please email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful weekend and again thank you for all you do for Alison, June, Eric and Izzy!
~Carol and Jennifer
Posted Sep 11, 2019 by Alison Walton
I haven’t posted in a while. I guess I have been kind of lost. I haven’t reached out to my friends & family much and when my birthday came around- I didn’t even want it mentioned. I literally hid under my bed covers the entire day. I’ve had tumors on my neck & they have gotten worse over the summer. In fact, the name of the game in cancer is keep it out of your organs which we have been successful in doing so but my neck has gotten so bad it’s life threatening. And. So excruciatingly painful- my tumors are infringing on my nerves & arteries in my neck and as a result, I am numb from the rib cage up to my head and I don’t have full mobility in my right arm. If the tumors compress my spinal cord, I could become a paraplegic. All the things that could happen, paralyze me in total fear each and every night. The idea of dying was horrific and now I’m dealing with other things that can happen which is kind of more terrifying !
That’s where I have been- in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced and in total terror! The worst part is I get to witness what my deterioration and disease is doing to the people I love and want to protect- they are terrified, on edge and not living. It hurts.
So I had this kitten I loved growing up named mittens and I went away with my Aunt & Uncle for a few weeks and when I got home I was told mittens got out of the house and was hit by a car. I overheard my dad telling my uncle they found the cat under our porch- apparently cats will desperately try to get home to die but they do it alone (like hide under the porch). I’ve been thinking about mittens recently. Do I want to go hide and die alone, spare my family and children the pain of watching me go? Or do you have the people you love surround you and be with you until your very last breath?
I was leaning towards being like a cat. But, then something happened. I’ve been lifted up again by my family and friends. I am not alone and tasks that seem daunting are doable, If I can’t do something- someone else can. I’m so grateful. I am so blessed. It is a blessing to have people want to be by your side when you are down and out. If you are lucky enough to have people see you to the very end- what could be more beautiful?
Anyways, i think I’m being shown what’s important. I’m also getting some courage and have faith that the tumors will go down in my neck. I believe I will get stronger and get this disease under control. I want to live my life well!!!
So even though I keep speaking of dying, I’m going to do my best to live the best I can each day. Appreciate my health where it is now at this moment and hope that I can get healthier. Enjoy my kids and all the people in my life and create wonderful memories because there are more to be made! Thanks for not counting me out and if I ever count myself out again- just nudge me and tell me it could be worse! You might want to duck depending my mood- lol. In all seriousness, thank you! And I love you!!!
More dates added
Posted Sep 11, 2019 by Alison Walton
Hi- I’m starting a new treatment regime and the meal train would be such a great help at this point. I’m not sure what days really will work best but put a few in and will add more once I know more about my treatment plan. Thank you so much for all your support & love to me and the kids- we truly appreciate all you have done.😘
Posted Jun 29, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
Two weeks ago I walked into my oncologist’s office with my sister and asked how much time I’d have if I stopped treatment. It struck me that she didn’t shoot me down right away and say nonsense! She said let’s do a scan and see how things are going before we discuss it. I dread treatment now because it makes me so sick - I’m getting ptsd just by entering the infusion room. As we were in the midst of our discussion, there was a knock at the door and there was Brian surprising me. He drove from MA to hold my hand during my treatment and then take care of me for the days to follow. The mood and conversation lightened immediately and I was able to exhale. It was such a great and much appreciated moment. A week later, my tests were scheduled and I was a mess. I just cried and was super agitated. I didn’t want to know if my disease progressed. I just want to live. My sisters decided we would have dinner together the night of the test because the dr promised she would get the results right away and we wanted to be together when the dr called. Little did we know she would have the results within an hour from when I took the test- I was having lunch with June and Eric when the call came in. The dr said she was very nervous to get the results but they were good-some of my tumors shrunk and the brightness of my tumors/lesions has lessened. Her recommendation continue with treatment as it is. Because my cancer is so aggressive, she did not expect the tumors to shrink at all. Her hope was just to slow down or keep the cancer from progressing- so this was a win but I didn’t feel like celebrating. It means continuing and hoping. I told her it’s like being shipwrecked and making your way to a lifeboat. You are hopeful someone will come and rescue you and you sit and wait for someone to come after a few days you want to just jump off the boat - how much do you endure before you say mercy? Or do you just hold onto hope while you see yourself slowly slip away? How will the people who love you remember you? The way you were or what you become at the end? I see it already with my kids- they forget what I was like well, and they don’t like the sick me. Neither do I. I have no energy and I’m pretty slow. Also for me, it’s vanity. I buzzed my hair again, I’m bloated, have sores, dry eyes, dark circles, no eyebrows or eyelashes- a piece of art let me tell you! In my head, if i have eyelashes i won’t look like I’m dying so my dr said I can get fake eyelashes if I want to- but I’m not sure I want to risk it. My numbers at the beginning of this round were low. So low that I will have to have a nulasta shot next week with my treatment & hope that does the trick. I guess I’m just in the thick of it all now and trying to figure out my way. This will sound odd but I have to figure out if I’m living or dying. If I’m living I have to be determined and focused and move one foot in front of the other. If I’m dying I have to start letting go gracefully as possible and I may not have the choice but just the awareness would be nice.
Which ever way the wind blows, I will always marvel and be humbled by all the love and support you have given me. Some joke that I just have a black cloud perminantly above my head but it’s not true. I am surrounded by love every day. I’m sorry if I have been closed or inward recently, please know your friendship and care means everything to me and the kids!
Posted Jun 12, 2019 by Alison Walton
Good morning everyone. This is Jennifer posting for Alison. So yesterday many people had their donations returned which I apologize for the inconvenience. When we re-started meal train we we going to link a new account to it for the donations, but then life got in the way. Although it remained on our to do list, we never got to it. Meal train waited patiently until yesterday. Everything is now set up so hopefully there will be no more problems in this area. Thank you for donations, support and love for Alison. If you have any other issues regarding meal train, please let me know. You can reach me at email@example.com.
Posted May 20, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
Hi, a few
Ore dates were added for the mealtrain. Thank you for your help!
One Inning at a time
Posted Apr 17, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
I am going to go to one Yankee game a month this year because I love baseball! Honestly it is one of my favorite places to be; I love the whole expierence. It’s also a place for just me and my son! Tonight was the best game we’ve ever seen and we had so much fun. He asked me a lot of questions on the way home from the game tonight. He asked if it bothers me that I may die and not see them grow up. That broke my heart. He also said if he could he would switch places with me because he doesn’t want me to have to go through this. Never ever, I told him.
I’m so exhausted. I’ve gone to three Dr’s in the past three days and as a result I have three more tests/biopsy’s I need to have done before next week. I found out today the median lifespan for a person with my disease is 12 months from diagnosis of stage 4. So if I’m like everyone else, I have nine months to live. Wow. That’s a pregnancy span. Maybe a butterfly coming out of a cocoon span. Eric asked me if I thought his father & his father’s parents would allow him to have his beloved kitten, Dexter. Dexter was to represent our new life, one where divorce and cancer was in our past. Life is so crazy- the twist & turns;, its fragility.
What I learned today is there are several chemo treatments that we will use to fight my disease but there is a trend to how they typically work. If my first treatment i recieve works for eight months, then the next treatment the expectation is it will work for four months, the next for two, etc. each treatment loses about half the effectiveness time. I’m not sure if that includes immunotherapy/ chemo combinstions or just straight chemo treatments. I’m hoping the latter since this treatment I’m on only was effective for a month.
With new drugs and trials, what is considered a successful trials are ones where the patients get three to four months without disease progression- wow! What did I get out of this??? Enjoy each day; love your family and friends, don’t waste anytime searching for some magic pill, pray. I do feel sick, maybe I just feel much older than I did before cancer but I don’t feel like I’m dying. But to Dr’s, I am. Anyways, I have numbness in my face so I need another brain scan. If I have brain mets then the brain trumps the rest of the body and they treat the brain right away and then go back to the rest of the body. The skin mets I have from being inflammatory may at some point become open wounds but that won’t happen until I’m closer to death, I was told not to think about that. We have many treatments before we get there. Lol- That’s what I have to say to that L O flipping L!
They say you chose the life you live- everything you expierence you created up until the day you die. And if you take time to really breathe that concept in and take the power of that idealology, it really may be true. All I can say is, I have a much better imagination than this storyline I’ve created and I’m much more upbeat and optimistic then these bullshit stats I’ve been given. So I suspect in the bottom of the nineth, being the underdog to my cancer, I will come back and win! Because that is my kind of story. Or maybe it won’t be this game I win but it will teach my kids how to win their games-just something positive has to come out of this. Cancer is so flipping depressing. I should know within the next week or two if my cancer has progressed and we’ll also know what trials I may be eligible for. I will keep you posted and hopefully with good news!
Trials & Tribulations
Posted Apr 10, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
I just wanted to give you a quick update. My wonder drug combo(immunotherapy & chemo) did great the first round of treatment(1month) but this second round the benefits haven’t been easily noticed. I have swelling again & some new lymph nodes. It’s kind of ironic the first round i was seeing such great results but didn’t get to enjoy them because I was fighting that virus the whole time- the darn thing is still lingering. So this coming week, I’m going to Boston to see what trials my dr up there may have, I am also visiting Sloan & Hackensack to get my name in their data bases for trials too. Fingers crossed we find a good one. Apparently, you want to get into a trial before you try too many chemos or you might not be eligible. In the cancer life, there is so much to learn! I started writing a post a few nights ago but didn’t send it because I feared I sounded too hoakie. But i feel i need to say it so... I’m tired and I am definitely sick but honest to god, I’ve never felt so grateful and in some ways as content as I do right now. And, it’s because of you. You have shown me such kindness and generosity, you’ve held my hand in the scariest and most vulnerable time in my life, you’ve encouraged me and never once forgot me, you’ve showed me the true beauty in this world. I never saw you and you were there the whole time. I have been showered with love. It’s been amazing and I want to thank you for changing my life. My life has changed. For the worst, If I allow my ego to get in the way but for the better if I let my heart lead the way. No one knows how much time they have. Your problems matter and don’t apologize to me if you voice them- i want to be here for you like you are for me! And, we all have blessings in our lives and focusing on the blessings makes life sweet. I’ve always had a sweet tooth! So I’m ok. I wanted you to know that. I’m so fortunate to have you in my life- you are amazing!!! Love you all and please keep us in your prayers!
Posted Mar 14, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
What a month! In my heart, I know I can’t rely solely on modern medicine because it has limitations and isn’t advanced enough to keep me well. My nieces told me to watch Heal on Netflix and that has been my life jacket through this diagnosis. I watch it every day, most days three times a day. I’m on a mission to learn how to help my body become healthy again. One of my revelations is the people in my life have the answers. People have guided me to the tools I need or have shown me the power of those tools. I kind of feel like I’m in an escape room- I have limited time but all the tools I need are in front of me in order to get out- I’m determined to get out. I want to also say I get really angry at times and yesterday I spent the whole day wallowing in self pity but it doesn’t do much for me. I have to believe that I will survive this and I will see my babies into adulthood. I need everyone in my life to believe that as well- there is no place for fear, only faith. I was fortunate enough to get an immunotherapy / chemo treatment plan before it was officially FDA approved. I learned the desired outcome for my Dr’s is that the treatment stops the cancer from progressing. I have had three treatments so far and I’ve actually had great results- all the tumors in my neck are gone ( can no longer be felt by touch) and my breast is no longer hard as a rock nor purple. It’s becoming healthier. so I’m already exceeding their expectations for what this treatment will do for me! During this whole journey, I have been gifted so much love and generosity. I’m so grateful for the people in my life. Truly grateful. I put together a plan of how I was going to navigate through this diagnosis and part of that plan is going to be live each day. I want to work, I want to have fun, I want to do for my children but rest when my body tells me too. Unfortunately, I had a minor set back. I must have picked up a virus( is what the dr’s are leaning towards- waiting on bacterial cultures) while living my life. Since Monday night, I have been fighting high fevers that spike as fast as they disappear. Because my white blood cells are half what they should be due to treatment when I get a high fever I get chills like I have never expierenced before- not fun! So I’m in the hospital for the next few days. Hopefully, I will get over this soon- I have to go a minimum of 24 hours without a fever before they release me. I’m sorry it took so long to give an update and honestly I have so much more to say to you but I’ll leave that for another day. Thank you for rooting for me, praying for me, loving me & holding my hand. It’s because of you that I have been able to handle the cards I’ve been dealt. And what cards they are!!! Never doubt I have a few aces up my sleeve! 😊
New Dates Added for meal Train
Posted Mar 6, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
We have added some additional dates for Alison's meal train.
Thank you for your support
New Dates for Meals
Posted Mar 4, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
We have added some new dates for Alison and her family to accept meals. For right now Tuesday and Sunday nights have been added. Please remember to leave the meal in disposable containers. They can be left on the porch.
Please also share with anyone that would be interested in providing a meal or a donation.
On behalf of Alison, June, Eric and Izzy....THANK YOU for your continued support!!!!!
Happy Valentine’s Day
Posted Feb 13, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
I love Valentines Day- a day of surprises, possibly a day a secret admirer is unveiled, a day when we do something a little extra special for the people we love. Every year, I put the big heart shaped box on the pillow of each of my kids bed while they sleep so they know when they wake up that they are loved & special to me. It’s a small gesture but one I do each year. This is the first year the girls aren’t with me; they are at their grandparents with their dad so my love will sit on their pillow until they come back home. I say to myself- there will be many valentine days where I can continue my little love ritual with them. Hopefully many. This week was a sobering week for me & my family. My disease has progressed and I do indeed have metastatic inflamatory breast cancer. I am so fortunate that I have my family and friends to stand with me and be scared, mad, desperate but also strong, determined and brave with me. I will never utter my stage of cancer to anyone because it just brings about doom and gloom thoughts and that is not me nor what I will except. I am going to see my baby get married; I’m going to meet her first boyfriend. I’m going to see her off to college and help her move into her first apartment. I am going to be here. I’m in the midst of trying to find my course of action with my dr’s. But I have to make sure they have the same mindset as me and treat me knowing I’m going to be here for awhile. I don’t think I ever mentioned what happened to me at my work while I was going through my treatment last year. I was approached by a woman I never saw before. I was in our cafeteria and she came up behind me, put her hand on my back firmly and asked if she could say a prayer for me. Before I could say yes, it was like she plugged into me and I felt warmth from the bottom of my toes and it moved slowly up my body to the top of my head- she said a four sentenced prayer and at the end I was very emotional and thanked her. It was a very emotional and powerful experience for me. She walked away and I met her once again in the same place a few months later and she asked if we could pray again and this time I told her my name and we stood and prayed for a few minutes. One of my coworkers came up to me after & asked what we were doing. I told her & asked if she knew who the lady was & she said never saw her before and I said me neither. I believed she was an angel. This week I needed my angel and searched for her but came up empty. I asked a friend who I knew was close by during my first interaction with my angel and she didn’t remember the incident. Today, I had a purple sticky note on my computer with an extension & name on it. I was in no mood to call this random number so I put it to the side & started my day. A few hours later, my friend told me she was telling a few people my story of the woman who prayed with me and one of the people knew who it was- the sticky note had my angel’s number on it! Part of me was sad because it was truly a real person- I thought she was an angel. But, I called her anyway & she said she was leaving for the day & I said I was too so we met up as we left the building. My memory of what she looked like(angelic) and what she looked like today(beautiful every day woman) was very different. I was upset because i thought maybe she can’t help heal me. But she smiled & walked with me. I began to cry and tell her where I’m at. She asked if we could sit in my car and say a prayer and I said yes. We prayed for a good twenty minutes and I realized she is my angel. She brought me to a more centered peaceful place as I listened to her blessing and her call out to god. She told me he is bigger than my problems, he loves me and my kids and has our well being in his hands and will take care of us. I have to believe, I have to believe in him and in miracles and I do. I will reach out to him when I’m weak and tired and I will trust him with our lives and continue to live my life the best i can. I will not allow another human to tell me where my life will lead me because no one on earth really knows. Anyways, I’m blessed. I am shown that many times a day. I have a tough few months a head of me but I’m going to strategically get through it- game plan is eat health drink lots of water and rest! I have to stay out of the emergency room this time. Let’s hope whatever drug concoction i am given, it is the one that will stop this cancer dead in its tracks. I’m going back to have my port put back in- this time I will look at it as a reminder of treatment and keeping me alive instead of the cancer it’s helping me fight. I will love this port and the scars that surround it. Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for your love & support♥️
Posted Feb 9, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
Yesterday, I got bad news. My breast cancer is back. My Dr. said she has never seen anything like this before; leave it to me to be special. My pet scan lit up my breast, some nodes & a spot on my hip. She took a biopsy of my breast and confirmed breast cancer. We are now just waiting to confirm it’s my good ol’ Triple negative & not another breast cancer. We are also determining if it’s inflamatory bc which I suspect it is. IBC(inflammatory Bresast cancer) would truly be the cherry on top of this battle I am going to have to begin. I feel like a 50 lb. weakling going up against Goliath. Not sure of what I will be up against but I know I’m entering a minefield. I have to stay healthy during this chemo round and hope the next pet scan shows a dimmed image. The silver lining is I knew something was not right a few weeks after radiation but had good reason to listen to my dr’s who said it was just after effects of radiation. When my neck started to swell we were going to wait two months which made me nervous but thought was a good sign. But when my breast started to change I knew there was something really wrong & my dr laughed & said the one thing she Knew was- it wasn’t breast cancer. I will never let another person tell me what is normal in my body- ever! I gave this cancer a month head start- that gets me mad. I will fight to live because all I can think about is my three kids faces when I had to tell them the news. I feel like I failed them. They deserve so much more than what they have been handed. I have to believe it will bring good to their lives in some way. But right now, I just think my poor babies.
Posted Jan 21, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
It’s been somewhat of a crazy week- I was in the ER Thursday. I’m feeling better. They ruled out that my lump has anything to do with my port being removed. My CT scan showed multiple nodes being envolved, none being large enough for a needle biopsy. My oncologist & breast surgeon reviewed the scan together & decided we should wait two months and see if there is any change. They don’t believe cancer is the suspect enough to put me through surgery! I was also told not to worry that my cancer marker blood test showed my numbers elevated in the past month. So i am going for a second opinion. I think it is a very good sign that both Dr’s agreed my scan didn’t show anything to warrant surgery at this time but the let’s wait & see game is very difficult for me to play. Everything was looking very bleak this week, & then it was like the clouds parted and the sun peaked through. Thank you for the sunshine.
Posted Jan 15, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
First- thank you so much for all the prayers! I did not have a biopsy today. She said it was in a precarious spot and she could do damage. She looked at it with an ultra sound and determined it was multiple nodes involved in that area but that is all she could dicpher. Therefore, I have to get a CT scan of my neck and chest area. If that doesn’t provide any information or it looks like it is cancer then I have to have surgery to remove it and have it biopsied. It is one of three things- an infection, a hematoma related to my port removal or cancer. I’m being positive that I have a 2/3’ds chance of good news. Thank you for going through this with me it means so much! I will keep updating this site with info. I’m now heading off to bed.
Life after treatment
Posted Jan 15, 2019 by Carol Stagliano
In some ways I find life kind of funny. I am very superstitious and always think there are signs and that everything does happen for a reason. When I was s little girl, I had many reoccurring dreams, one was of a swordsman chasing me up my front lawn and I was in a panic trying to get away. I ran with all my might up my front porch stairs and into the house with the swords man just inches behind and I turned and slammed the screen door behind me. In a split second I felt an extreme sigh of relief and accomplishment because I got away successfully and in that moment the swords man quickly put his sword through the screen and stabbed me. Today, or yesterday I woke up feeling a little achy but happy I was going to PT. I had a knot in my neck that I wanted her to help me massage it out. Turns out it’s a lump! It’s my supraclavical lymph node which I will save you a google search- it’s one of the first places breast cancer can show it’s ugly head when it metastasizes. I’m getting a biopsy at 10 am. My oncologist says not to google and to think positive. It’s hard for me to do that- so I am asking you to be positive for me and to pray. I believe in prayer. I was just telling a friend of mine last week that recently when I lose something important I don’t freak out and frantically search I just ask god to find it by a certain time and I don’t think about it after I ask for his help and every single time I find what I was looking for. It has never failed. Today, I was joking that I think god likes me too much now and wants me to come home but I’m not ready. He has to cool his jets and let me build my sand castle for my kids. But maybe he knows better, maybe my kids will be okay and will be stronger by going through this with me. I told Iz I will fight and do whatever I have to do in order to get as many good days with her as I can and she has to fight to be strong enough to let me do it- no being down- one moment at a time. Did I mention no coincidences? I had a Salvation Army woman on Christmas Eve ask me my name and said she knew I still needed prayers & that she would pray for me, my oncologist told me he’d like me to go until February with my port (in) just for assurance purposes- I ignored them both & was mad at both of them. In my heart, I didn’t believe my battle was over but I made excuses as to why I felt that way. I was mad at the women praying for me- I had hair & didn’t need her stinking prayers. I let my fear get in the way. I do believe we all have a predestined path of sorts and you can’t live in fear and ignore signs you don’t wan to see. So I start again most likely facing stage four breast cancer. Another not so coincidental coincidence, a friend posted an obituary of a woman who just lost her life to stage four breast cancer. Her story began with her husband dying of a heart attack while she was a stay at home mom of two small children. As she tried to pull her life together after her loss, she was handed a second blow of a stage four bc diagnosis. She went on to finish college, go to grad school, find love!!! Having stage four breast cancer she found love-to me that says everything about the warrior she was. Anyways she lived the time she was given. People are amazing- she is amazing and you feel sad for her kids but in some ways I don’t because they had her as a mom and saw her strength courage and the power of her love- so in some ways I think those kids are very lucky. I’m hoping my story will be as beautiful as hers. I’m hoping for time. Having triple negative really shadows my hopes right now- most die from what I read within nine month of reoccurrence. So please say a prayer for us, my kids especially. I appreciate all of your love
Final Radiation Treatment
Posted Oct 15, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
10-15. I had my last radiation treatment today; 7 weeks, 35 treatments. I did not find radiation easy and by the time I got to this part of my treatment I didn’t do any research to see what I was getting into. Most of the side effects I had were met with “that’s not caused by radiation”. I got sick, nauseous, sores in my mouth, the feeling of having every ounce of energy zapped out of you after a five minute treatment that you literally stumble to your car, and infections that just won’t go away. I didn’t mention my breast and what it went through and apparently it will get worse in the next couple of weeks to come. I was told how wonderful it looks compared to other patients and I just think my god what people endure and then just get back up and dust themselves off and live. My Dr. said it will take 4 to 6 weeks before the radiation leaves my body and the side effects to be gone. As I finished today I was handed a certificate for graduating and received a few hugs walking out the door. I will not miss seeing my fellow radiation patients, nor hearing the Megyn Kelly show as I walk through the waiting room like it’s my own living room, nor the sound of the machine giving me radiation- I hate that noise; I really hate that noise. But, I’m done-yay! I dust myself off now and live. So somber is how I felt this morning as I walked out the hospital doors not wanting ever to look back. Off to the supermarket, my mood changed. I met a woman I’ve known for years; I don’t know her well but we chat when we see each other. In her life, she faced hardships no one would ever want to face; most would probably chose death over going through what she did. As I walked to get my cart, she turned around with a big smile & said I’ve been thinking of you; how’s it going? I told her it was my last treatment and now I have to live and not be scared. She said it’s crazy the things life throws you and you never expect it to be so hard. It’s not like being a little kid and being happy all the time. Big things happen that are crippling and it’s a domino effect- it hurts you physically, financially, mentally; it’s like a tidel wave. But you get through it and when you have the energy to get back up, you have to be happy and enjoy life and what you have until you are hit with the next wave because you don’t know what you’ll be faced with next so enjoy it now. One day at a time, one problem at a time but being in the moment and living is what you have to do. She was joyful and laughing while she talked about the waves knocking you down and her strength was unwavering behind every word she said. Her words were exactly what I needed at that moment and she was the perfect messenger. No matter what happens life is good, people are good. I won’t forget that. She was a blessing to me today; a true blessing. I have had many blessings this year-all your love and support. I truly have been overwhelmed by it and I have appreciated everything you have done! Everything! Thank you!!!Don’t say it was nothing because it was everything to me and my kids. Now, I’m in the process of dusting myself off, getting my energy back and getting back to my life! By the end of the year, if all looks good I will have my port taken out which will be a welcomed sign that yes, this chapter of my life is truly done!
Posted Jul 12, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
Well 5/31 was my last chemo treatment and everything either erupted or broke down for four weeks after that! I won’t bore you with the details but it was the most stressful time of my life! That being said, I’m officially Alison Brown now. I also had medical issues that almost postponed my surgery but luckily two days before surgery and after undergoing many tests, they approved the surgery. I was so relieved. July 4th, Brian and I got up early and spent the day in Ocean Grove with my Aunt and cousins. Couldn’t be a better way to divert my attention from my surgery. The next day, I had my surgery. I had Brian by my side and my sister, Kim. No one tells you how horrible the pre-surgery prep is- it was torture! Just a lot of needles and pain. By the time surgery is to take place you are no longer anxious just exhausted. The surgery went a little longer because my lymph nodes were clumped together, the doctor thinks because of the chemo treatments. I was upset by this because I didn’t know how many lymph nodes were taken out nor if they had cancer. With triple negative, the more lymph nodes involved, the worse the prognosis. So I’ve been pretty grumpy post surgery; just stressed at what the results would be. I went for my week post surgery appointment today and found out I have fluid build up from the surgery. She tried to extract it with a needle- extremely painful. Not sure if I’m a baby now or if these things truly kill but I couldn’t bare it! I have to go back in a week and maybe have it done again. The pathology report wasn’t in yet. I came home and slept. Late afternoon, my doctor called with the results. My tumor started at 25mm and was 4mm at time of surgery(not completely gone like I thought). However, my dr said she successfully took it out and that it was good news because my tumor responded to the chemo. She took out 6 lymph nodes and they all came back clear- no cancer in them! Now I can breathe, rest, relax, use my mental energy on happy thoughts, and come back to life! Next up, 7 weeks of radiation
Posted Jun 3, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
My sister Debbie has been by my side through it all too. The joke is whenever she is to bring me to a test or a treatment some natural force comes in and ruins the day- think we had three or four major snow storms. So we decided on a nice May day for her to come & join me. Since my sister Kim was home in NJ too it was going to be a sister day. Debbie was meeting us at the hospital but because Kim & my directions were so bad Deb got there just as we found out we had to go somewhere else- it was the day, they denied me chemo. Anyways, it was a long day of testing and both my sisters were there and I forgot to take a picture! My only post without one. So this post is a picture of me and my sisters at my mom’s party instead! 😊
Posted Jun 3, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
I always spoke about Marisol but Cheryl was my nurse too. She took care of me on my sickest days and the last half of my treatments. Oncology nurses are special people- I was lucky to have Cheryl by my side.
Posted Jun 3, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
5/30- last chemo- it doesn’t even feel real! It’s my last chemo!!! My sister was there for me for my first treatment and I wanted to make sure she was there for my very last too! It went without a hitch; I was able to relax while she finished up crocheting a blanket she made for my mom’s 80th birthday. We chatted and I got to say goodbye to all the people I’ve gotten to know the past 20 weeks. Goodbye never felt so good. Anyways, the next day, I had my appointment with my breast dr. to find out if my tumor shrunk anymore and what the next steps would be. She hooked up the sonogram machine and started examining my breast the same way she did when I found out I had that massive tumor but this time I couldn’t see the screen; she said there is no trace of the tumor; it’s completely gone! Sweetest words ever spoken to me! It’s funny I was having pain in my breast & I was convinced that the tumor was growing but she said it’s normal because it’s just the chemo that I’m feeling. It was a relief to find out it really wasn’t there. With this type of cancer, having the tumor disappear completely is what they expect and gives you a better chance of a positive outcome. Next step is surgery July 5th- that will give us a better understanding of where the cancer actually was and if they can get all those bad cells out of my body- clear margins that is what we want. Today was my mom’s birthday and the family got together to celebrate. It was a special day; we had so many things to celebrate and be grateful for. Everyone was happy; it was a good day!!!
Let’s go Yankees
Posted May 29, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
5/23- decided to go solo for this treatment. It was supposed to be my final day but it was pushed to tomorrow. I slept the entire time and then came home and slept some more. My body is definitely done with chemo. I’m not overly excited about my last treatment. It just means I have to prepare for the next stage of treatment. It also means I’ll have a better understanding of where I am- did the taxol eliminate the tumor all together? that is what is necessary for a good prognosis. I’m hopeful but nervous. I have been going to PT a few times a week and it’s been helping me with my muscle cramping at night. I will continue with therapy until my surgery.
I just wanted to say, I have been very blessed to have so many people supporting me and caring for me and I just want to tell you how much I appreciate it all. It truly kept me going through this and the generosity has been overwhelming. Thank you!!!!
As I’m writing this, I have the yankee game on. We were winning earlier and then I sat down to watch & they started to play horribly. Error after error, their game was sloppy and almost uncomfortable to watch. We were losing 5 to 3 going into the bottom of the 9th. All of a sudden they came alive and tied the game up! This is why I will ALWAYS be a Yankee fan! Everything was going wrong and right before they were completely clobbered they got energy and came back! Now I’m not sure they will win but I do know they will fight like hell to do so!!! So inspiring- they always show me you have to keep your chin up and the game isn’t over until it’s over!!! Woohoo, I’m ready for tomorrow! Let’s go Yankees! Let’s beat cancer!!!
75% Chemo round one of three
Posted May 20, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
5/16 - The Dr believes reducing the remaining treatments to 75% is the best plan for me. I have to admit I am terrorfied of my treatments now ; I’m so fearful of how I am going to feel. My friend Jen came with me and ensured that I told them exactly how I’ve been feeling and once we got through all the prescreening for treatment, they hooked me up and Jen & I chatted the whole time. I am not able to do it with the exuberance I once had in my first few treatments. I feel much more drugged and sluggish. I still was able to have a good conversation.
I got a pretty gift in the mail that day. It was a box of all different products to make you feel good. I went through it and hid everything good that I thought my girls would claim as their own. There was a book in there too-at that time I thought it was about how to apply make up when your bald, puffed up like the michillian man and have no eye brows. So I chucked it on the kitchen table where it laid until today. It’s called Gracie. Seriously, I can’t even write the title without welling up. It’s about this woman Gail who created the Gracie foundation for woman who have breast cancer. It’s called Gracie because that is her kick ass Cancer fighter alternate identity. I loved this book and HATED it at the same time.
I do not want to hear stories of heroic women who fought the good fight against cancer especially when they die. I can’t read or hear those stories. It’s not a fight either; it’s what you are served up, you have no choice. I won’t go into detail but her situation sucked! I guess you chose how you deal with it and that can make you a fighter. I know we all die- I just don’t want to know how or when. Funny As I’m writing that I remember being pregnant with Junie. I would get so anxious at the end and say being pregnant is a lot like dying because you don’t know when or how it’s going to happen, you just know it’s going to happen!!! In that instance, I wanted to know, July 2- 8 pm. No anxiety. Now, that i have the idea of death at my door. I don’t want to know when or how- having an idea of this information brings on anxiety now!
Don’t tell me I will beat this because the reality is no one knows. The girl in the book wasn’t supposed to die nor am I but it’s not a given.
I’m scared because I’m not done with life. I haven’t done anything. All I ever wanted was to be a mom. Now that I am one, I realized all I wanted to do with them was play and make them happy. Discipline and being self- sufficient , hard working and reliable we’re not on the forefront of my mind when I was parenting. But I was good at playing- arts and crafts, story telling, singing and being kind. I wanted my kids to be kind and happy. Well, as a result, my kids aren’t prepared for life yet. I haven’t properly prepared them.
I wanted to show them the beauties of this world, of people , of true love. I’m in the midst of a divorce which has only shown them ugliness. Then the cherry on top is the only parent they can rely on gets cancer. The kids are not overly happy nor kind- they are scared and angry.
I honesty think I got this whole thing wrong. If I could go back and rewrite my life I would. It’s like when you are a kid on the beach making a sand castle and you knock it down in order to start a new one, a better one. In your mind you knew what that castle should be. But, then your mom comes and says it’s time to leave the beach and you never get to make that perfect sand castle. It’s unfair! You worked so hard and the first one was wrong and you were going to do it right but time was up ; too late! That is where I am in my life- everything I’ve done I’ve knocked down to build something better and I don’t want to leave this earth until my perfect sand castle is made. Or it will be like I didn’t exist.
I’m just having a hard time. The chemo is kicking the crap out of me. I have no energy- standing is a bother. I’m afraid.
Three to go no more
Posted May 11, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
5/9- I was excited to have both my sisters with me for this chemo day. It was going to be a good time for us to catch up. I have been experiencing a lot of leg pain recently because of my muscles cramping. Kim and I were waiting in the dr office and Debbie was on her way down to meet us. The dr came in and asked how I was doing and I said I was in a lot of pain and the dr.’s response was I will give you stronger pain meds. I was happy with that response! Apparently, Kim was not; she told him I could barely walk and my leg was swollen. When he looked at it he asked me what it felt like and I said a mannequin leg - when I touched it ,it didn’t feel like it was my leg. That made him very concerned and he said I couldn’t have my chemo. Then Kim said she has been gaining three/four pounds each week that’s not normal she needs a diuretic- she is retaining too much fluid. He agreed. Hello? Who’s my Dr? So I suggested we do what we have to to take care of my leg but let’s still have chemo- decisive no was delivered to that thought. I have three chemos to go- I’m almost done and now I’m haulted. My nurse came in when she heard I wasn’t getting chemo and she said she was concerned it was a blood clot. My dr said yes we should rule that out. So the three of us (me & my sisters)had to go to another hospital and make sure there were no blood clots in my leg- there weren’t. I went home not being able to walk at all. That night I kept my leg up and took the diuretic and the swelling was down tremendously the next morning. Getting that fluid out of me made a huge difference. Today,Friday the 11th, I went to see an oncologist pain management dr at Kessler. He basically told me I have a bad case of neuropathy and that the chemo needs to be reduced in order to ensure I don’t get permanent nerve damage. He said we are poisoning you and we want to kill the cancer but when we see side effects like this; it’s a sign that the poison is too much. So I have to do physical therapy now and cut my chemo dosage to 75% and I may have to have another chemo or two more as well. So much for me counting down the chemo! We will readjust the count next week. For now, I’m tired, grey haired!!!!! And bummed.
Posted May 10, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
5/3- finally the nicer weather is here. My friend, Kathy, brought me to my chemo. I was telling Kathy how my Dr. only cares about my numbers (blood count- always beautiful) and any complaints pretty much falls on deaf ears- I’ve been telling him about my muscles for a couple of weeks now and he says you only have a few treatments to go or double up on your pain meds. Kathy said I’ll say something and get him to listen if you want. I told her it was ok but I knew I was in good hands. This chemo, I had a new nurse Rbecause my nurse was on vacation. That always stresses me out. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of but when it comes to my chemo I like no changes. Poor Kathy! We sat down and began my treatment and it hit me hard this time and I think five minutes into it, I fell fast asleep! Two hours later, Kathy woke me up and said I was all done. Not much of a catch up session this time- I think I owe her coffee!!!
Rainy Day Chemo
Posted May 1, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
4/25- Once again, I had Cindy by my side which is a welcomed comfort any day but especially on my chemo day. I asked the dr when I should see the side effects from the steroids leave my body and he said “so your asking when you will stop looking like the michillian man?” Ah ha! What a jokester- apparently, it will be four to six weeks after I stop my taxol. My muscles have been tightening up so much now- my calf muscles will not flex at all. But I only have four left which I can’t believe- the end of this phase is almost here!!! My genetic testing came back inconclusive and my dr said in her experience most that are inconclusive get down graded to not a gene mutation and therefore we must believe it’s not gene related and she recommends a lumpectomy. Made sense to me and it’s less invasive, I keep my breasts, decision made! But recently I have been losing sleep over it- if it is a gene mutation then the chances of it coming back are great. My sister had breast cancer, I had melanoma which is also indicative of Braca 2 gene- so maybe I should be doing the double masectomy- to be safe. But I’m diabetic which makes healing difficult and surgery more complicated. Couple that with just coming off chemo which also makes healing difficult, maybe I shouldn’t press my luck. So confusing. I have to make my decision soon.
Posted Apr 21, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
Something has changed I have very little energy. If I overdo it, my body retaliates ferociously. Pain makes you tense up and tensing up brings on more pain. I started to double up my pain medication but the pain still wins. The mirror and clothes are very unkind. I took a class “look good, feel better” which was great. But, I’m just really tired. I feel like a hamster on its wheel; I’m afraid if I stop and truly rest I will not recover. I just keep telling myself I have to keep moving and push through. I have five more chemo treatments left. I have not seen Marisol for the past three treatments which honestly I think impacts my spirit- I feel like she has the map I understand in order to navigate through this treatment; without her I’m confused. I have to put litocaine on my port so it doesn’t hurt when they use it during treatment-the past two treatments I mistakingly put burn cream on it. This treatment I put the litocaine on but didn’t have a bandage to cover it up so I used wax paper which soaked up the litocaine and was essentially like not having it at all! Not a pleasant experience, but at least I had my friend, Patty by my side. Patty has away to make you laugh even when you aren’t in the mood, makes you own up to your own stupidity and always has your back. I always tell her she is the biggest bully I have ever met but the truth is she is just a good friend. She got me through round 7!
Halfway there with chemo!
Posted Apr 15, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
4/11- this treatment I decided to go alone which completely surprised my nurses & Doctor. They weren’t used to the quiet. Marisol would always sternly tell me not to fight resting during treatment and I finally take her advise and go solo so i can sleep and everybody thinks something is wrong with me! To be honest, I think I have been doing too much. I’ve been running around too much and my body took it for about a week and then this past Friday it just said no more. I woke up and felt like a Mac truck hit me; I felt nauseous & had such a migraine. I was boasting the day before to my boss about how well I was doing and then just derailed. It kind of bums me out. It’s hard to get into a groove with energy. I want to live a little. I’ve worn a wig three times now and it makes me feel like I blend in and I’m not the cancer patient. it provides a nice escape. The past few days maybe because I’m tired, maybe because I’m still going through the divorce I just feel kind of lost. Luckily for me, I’m generally an upbeat person & low moments tend to pass somewhat quickly. But right now, I hate cancer, I hate being sick and I hate all the bad decisions I’ve made in my life! On a brighter note, I was in my work bathroom washing my hands and when I looked in the mirror I saw a little sheen glow on my bald head & realized I have peach fuzz. It looks like a beautiful baby’s head(to me at least). I truly felt like it was Christmas- I wanted to show everyone my head! Such excitement! Such hope that I needed- there is an end to this and it’s sooner than it feels! I also noticed while looking in the mirror how huge I am- I’ve gained 20 pounds but I will save my thoughts on that for a future update- lol. Thanks for caring♥️
Posted Apr 15, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
4/4- my friend Mary brought me to chemo . We actually played pass the pig which I never played before- it was a fun way to pass the time! I went into chemo with my sugars being higher than normal so they decided to take me off the steroids to see if that would help control my levels. It did! Not quite sure why they didn’t do it sooner; it could have saved me a few trips to the emergency room. The next day I saw a huge difference in my energy level as a result. But, I think it’s a necessary change to my treatment & I will have to deal with the trade off.
3/28 a quarter of the way there
Posted Apr 2, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
It’s funny chemo has become a part of my life. My friend Laura brought me for my third round of taxol and I got to introduce her to all my new friends(nurses & dr’s) in my new world of being a cancer patient. It scares me in some ways how well I’ve adjusted to this new world I’m in. Anyways, chemo went on without a hitch until I got home. My sugars shot up so high that my meter couldn’t register a number it just said hi. I waited four hours for a number which never came and then Carol brought me for a night at the hospital. My numbers came down eventually and hopefully next round I will keep it under control.
Right before I was diagnosed in December, I had a very vivid dream. I dreamt that I was out of my body flying over our home and I was crying because I didn’t want to leave. When I woke up i thought it was about leaving our home & moving into the apartment or that I was going to die. A week later I was diagnosed and that dream haunted me; I really thought I was going to die. I was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive cancer and I didn’t feel overly connected to my life anymore. People told me to be positive and that I would beat it but my gut wasn’t telling me that- i didn’t feel like a fighter and i didn’t feel like i was absolutely going to beat it- i didn’t know. The past year had been hard and I felt like I couldn’t catch a break nor that I was doing much good. Fast forward to today, I feel completely different. I don’t question if I will be a breast cancer survivor - I know I will. I don’t feel stuck any longer either. I have to get through this year of treatment and then who knows what good things lie ahead. I’m ready. So in some ways, cancer gave me a fresh new perspective on life and what’s important.
After my diagnosis, i bought opening day tickets for me & Eric hoping I would be well enough to go and as a source of motivation. Well opening day is here and even though it was snowed out and probably will be rained out tomorrow, I was ready to go! Thinking back at what I thought my life was going to be like at this point and actually how it has been going, I feel like I’m doing ok! Don’t get me wrong chemo stinks and there is no easier chemo but I’m getting through. I am very grateful.
Another snow storm on chemo day!
Posted Mar 21, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
3/21- another snow storm on
my chemo day to add a little not needed excitement to my day! Actually we were lucky the thick of the storm didn’t start yet so the drive was doable! But that was largely impart due to my daredevil friend, Christine! She was determined to get me to this chemo appointment! A little storm was not going to get in our way- she got me there safe & sound!! Ahhh and made me laugh too! I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately but I have the best friends, best family, live in the best community and have the best co-workers! I am truly blessed and having cancer really just put a huge light on that fact! I feared that when I finished my treatments and my cancer is GONE that I wouldn’t be the same person and the trade offs weren’t going to be things I bargained for. But today, as I talked with Christine, I decided that it’s ok. One day at a time for now! Also, I have control and therefore I will come out of this better than the girl in the mealtrain pic! It’s going to be a continual work in progress but isn’t that the way it should be any way? So here is to the new me, whoever she turns out to be! For now, the uncle fester jokes can continue and maybe that will be my Halloween costume for 2018 but I think 2019 I will be Pink or some other kickass woman. For now, still looking like Fester😖
2nd round of Taxol
Posted Mar 17, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
3/14- the night before chemo the hospital called me to tell me Marisol wasn’t working during the time my chemo was scheduled and wanted to make sure I was ok with it. Kind of made me laugh because I guess I really have been super vocal about needing my nurse Marisol by my side! I figured I would give her a little reprieve and move forward having my kinder friend, Sue, by my side! Sue and I have known each other literally since the playpen! It was a good treatment; they reduced the amount of benedryl they gave me but I was still super loopy which contributed to our silly conversations. I tell you I love having my friends bringing me to the treatments because you almost forget why you are there- there is no dwelling, feeling anxious or being sad- it’s all about catching up and laughing! I went to work on Thursday & Friday for half days and I was a little tired. Saturday,the muscle pain I was getting was more severe. The pain meds they gave me aren’t strong enough but I’m trying to push through. My new motto is fake it until you make it! And that’s exactly what I’ll do until I’m healthy.
3/8- First round of taxol
Posted Mar 10, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
I was supposed to start my first round of taxol on Wednesday but because of the storm they switched it to Thursday which was upsetting. You become a big baby about things- if I don’t go on my scheduled day I may not get my Nurse and the thought of doing a new chemo without her is terrifying to me. Also, because of the snow I didn’t have a ride but my friend, Dawn, swooped in and volunteered to take me and let me tell you Thursday was a lot worse driving conditions! Chemo went well- no reactions and it takes less time than A/C (my first chemo). Friday I felt good enough to go out to a concert- my first real outing! Then today I started to get a little achiness in my hips and I just thought it was because I went out last night but as the day went on,the pain got worse and moved to other parts of my body- it’s side effects of the chemo. Today, I feel pretty defeated. I don’t want to do this 11 more times, I want my hair back and when I look in the mirror I don’t want to see sick and glassy eyes. Looking at my mealtrain pic makes me cry because I don’t know if she will ever be again. I don’t want a new me and I’m afraid of what sacrifices I will have to make in exchange for killing the cancer. Once the treatment is over and the cancer is gone, how does it ever really ever leave you? On a happy note, went to the breast Dr. and my tumor was the size of a golf ball and now is the size of a pea. She expects it will be gone by the time I’m done with taxol! I’m grateful for that.
New Dates Added for Alison's meal train
Posted Mar 7, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
As most of you know, Alison will now start to be going to chemo once a week. Although today was canceled because of the storm. So if you are able please help with the meals. The meals and donations have helped Alison tremendously but taking something off her already full plate.
On behalf of Alison, June, Eric and Izzy, thank you for your continued support and help.
Carol and Jennifer
Last hydration day!
Posted Feb 22, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
2/22/18- today, the guy who escorted me each day to kindergarten, my first candy cane ball, my prom date and dear friend, Sean brought me to my last hydration day! I am always in good spirits when I’m with Sean! Marisol set us up in my favorite chemo cubical and for four hours we just told stories and laughed. At one point Sean said should we be laughing here? My thought, why not. It’s better than sitting there dwelling on why you are there. It was a good day! Marisol tries to keep me in line. I was told to remember each treatment is cumulative and that I have to allow my body to rest. My blood count has been good and so far my body makes me rest when it needs it. So I think I’m good. But I will listen to her! I am hopeful I will be good after this round- no hospital knock on wood!!!
Last Round Baby!!!
Posted Feb 21, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
2/21/18- Today, one of my hero’s brought me to my last round of the red devil and who better to see me through this milestone! Simply put Dawn is awesome and I’m lucky to have her as a friend! The day started off a little rocky because my son woke up with a horrendous stomach bug, but it ended up being a really good day- I feel good & I’m happy . Hopefully it will carry onto the weekend but if not -it doesn’t matter because it’s my last round-yay!
The night before my last round of the red devil
Posted Feb 20, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
2/20/18- not able to sleep; I’m scared about tomorrow. My last treatment I ended up in the hospital on Friday; didn’t make it to court after all. They think I had a stomach bug- I was really sick. As usual my sugars went wacky and went low this time, down to 50. I just hate not knowing how it’s going to affect me. Since this weekend, I have felt pretty normal and it feels really good. I don’t want to go backwards again but it’s my last treatment!
I wanted to thank you all again and I don’t know how to say this without sounding sappy but each and everyone of you have truly carried me through this. It amazes me how at every turn I have someone there helping me, encouraging me and standing by me. I am overwhelmed by it and will pay it forward. You have changed my life in a very sweet way.
Posted Feb 8, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
2/8- Today, my friend Brian who I was lucky to work with for 18 years, brought me to my hydration. Little did he know he was on school car pool duty as well. The delayed opening for school really put a wrench in my morning! Anyways, we got there and just spent four hours catching up- he didn’t think we’d be able to talk for fours straight! I don’t think he remembered who he was dealing with!!! Marisol said I had to be better drinking water so that is my goal for the next month but I’m really having a hard time getting it down. But apparently I have to do it for my kidneys and not end up in the hospital. So I will be better! This time the chemo hit me a little earlier than it has the other rounds. By 5pm, I was feeling pretty sick; I think I’m going to succumb to taking my anti-nausea meds(i don’t like taking meds if I don’t have to). Also, I am exhausted to the point where I just slept for five hours & I still feel like I can’t move! I have court tomorrow and I have to pull it together(that will be a feat). Everyone asked why I didn’t postpone it but I have to get it done and settled- tomorrow will bring me one step closer. So send me strength just to stay awake & coherent! It might not been the brightest idea to do this but no turning back.
Round three with the Red Devil
Posted Feb 8, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
2/7- In kindergarten, I remember the first day of school I met Cindy- I was completely enamored with her beautiful long red hair! My hair never went past my shoulders & hers was way down her back! Somethings never change! Lucky for me we’ve been friends for 45 years(my lord that’s a long time!) Anyways besides having my partner in crime by my side, I had a lot of good news today. I found out that round 4 will be my last time I will receive nulasta(which someone nicknamed the shot of death-very accurate), and my 12 rounds of chemo after the red devil will only be 1& 1/2 hours long(i thought they were 4). My nurse, Marisol whom I love said once I get through my four rounds of the red devil the treatments will be much easier and I will even get a little peach fuzz on top of my head! In the next two weeks I’ll Be losing my eye lashes & eyebrows and every hair on my chinny chin chin. I looked at the red devil for the first time today- it was just red fluid Marisol pushed into my IV- I was too afraid to look at it the first two rounds; I’m getting a little braver. I hope the red devil is my friend and is shrinking my cancer as we speak. That is my hope.
The best group of people ever
Posted Jan 31, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
1/29- Losing my hair was a big deal to me -I would say it’s only hair but when I was faced with not having any I would hyper ventilate. Yet, when we buzzed it I really did have fun and was ok- That was in the security of my own home. Monday was the first day of work for me. I had a few hats but I looked like a little Buddha but I thought it was better than straight bald. I put on makeup- someone told me to slap on some lipstick for color, which I did, and I used good earings as a distraction! I walked out of the elevator onto my floor and everyone was busy working not minding me much but as I walked by everyone was wearing some type of hat in support of me! It makes me tear up thinking about it. Great people I work with! People came up to me giving me hugs and wishing me well; some asked to see my bald head-lol. By the end of the day the were yelling at me because they were still wearing their hats & I was walking around bald! I actually realized- it’s just hair! Anyways, this is a picture of some of us in our hats♥️GAF!
Had a little fun
Posted Jan 31, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
Hair today, gone tomorrow
My hair fell out that day
Posted Jan 31, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
Didn’t make the week
A day of hydration
Posted Jan 31, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
1/25/18- Today my cousin, Susan, brought me to hydration and we talked about my hair & how difficult it will be for me to lose my hair and the nurse said I’d probably have a week
Posted Jan 31, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
1/24/18- My second treatment I had my long time friend, Al DeCarlo, by my side- searching cooling caps to preserve my hair
Posted Jan 31, 2018 by Carol Stagliano
1/10/18-My first chemo treatment I was terrified but my sister cracked me up the whole time♥️ The red devil isn’t so bad don’t believe the hype!